Duplicity (2009)

Love it or hate it, you have to admit that Howard Tully pulled off a masterful piece of counterintelligence.

My word for Julia Roberts is smarmy.  Not the Webster definition but the more commonly accepted modern definition of a snobby little shit.  The fun thing in this movie is that I don’t feel that way about her personally which is a nice change but her character was definitely written that way.  Julia Roberts still seems to bank on American audiences finding her charming.  It’s not that I liked her that much in this movie but it was definitely a nice change from cutesy Rom-Com fluff and having a competent female spy who isn’t just convenient boobs is refreshing.  Clive Owen is a stereotyped cliche spy and yet I never really felt like he was on equal footing with her which it is weird to say was kind of a nice change.  So in as confusing a way to possibly say it: I’m not a huge Julia Roberts fan and I didn’t particularly like Claire Stenwick but they were perfect in this movie.

I really liked the the concept of retired spies moving into the private sector and corporate espionage.  All too often public perception is that they grind away the years at the same job for pension and retirement party.  The reality is seen in the shifting of lawmakers to corporations and back as lobbyists etc. etc.  The joke is his interest in frozen pizza shipments of Hawaiian pizza but there is probably a lot of interest in corporate espionage.  I’d say the field is under-represented in media however.  It’s interesting to see a similar movie released in 2013’s Paranoia.

For some reason this movie reminds me of this music video:

At points it’s boring and at points you realize that not much is going on and yet it’s a pretty good spy movie even if it gets unnecessarily complicated at times.  Besides, they’re ex-CIA and ex-MI6 so if nothing else you’ve got an obvious tie-in to more classic spy fare.  Some people say it’s a confused Mr. and Mrs. Smith or this or that.  If anything it reminds me of those high-brow society movies about upper crust socialites finding love in places like New York, realizing they are both terrible people and realizing that no one else will want them or understand them.  I would imagine this movie gives some divorcees ulcers especially the antagonistic personal interactions between Owens and Roberts.  He sleeps with the travel agent!  How much of this is reality and how much is dysfunctional real life romance glossed over with spy movie elements?

Seriously though, bravo Tully, bravo…